Midwives take maternity concerns to Scottish Parliament

on 28 April 2023 RCM Maternity Services MSWs - Maternity Support Workers Midwifery Midwives Staffing Levels Government Midwife Shortage Midwifery Workforce NHS Funding Prevention Public Health NHS Scotland RCM Scotland Scotland Scottish Government Scottish Maternity Services

Frontline maternity staff from across Scotland have taken their concerns about maternity care to the heart of the country’s political establishment.

Midwives, maternity support workers (MSW), student midwives, midwifery educators and researchers met MSPs at a Royal College of Midwives (RCM) reception at the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

They were able to talk directly to politicians about the great work they do but also the pressures they face to keep services safe for women, babies, and their families, and about the challenges around educating the next generation of midwives in practice and in Scotland’s universities. Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, Michael Matheson also spoke at the event.

Jaki Lambert, Director for Scotland at the RCM, said: “This was a great opportunity for MSPs to hear from frontline maternity staff about the challenges they are facing every day to deliver safe and high-quality care. They also heard about the importance of midwifery education and developing our future educators and the challenges our midwifery educators are facing to educate the next generation of midwives, and about the importance of midwifery research. Getting all these areas right, with the right numbers of staff and the right funding, is crucial to ensuring Scotland’s women get the safest and best possible care.”

The event was sponsored by MSP Jackie Baillie MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care and Drugs Policy, and Scottish Labour Deputy Leader. She has campaigned heavily for better maternity services in her Dumbarton constituency and nationally. Jackie spoke to midwives, MSWs, and midwifery educators and researchers at the event, alongside delivering the keynote address.


Jackie Baillie, said, ““For too long, the Scottish government has failed to support midwifery in Scotland, and as a result we now face a shocking number of vacancies. Scotland’s midwifes are working around the clock day in and day out, but they are not being supported. It’s time for the SNP government to tackle the workforce crisis and end the exodus from the profession by supporting midwifery staff.”

The RCM was also highlighting what needs to be done to ensure Scotland’s maternity services can meet the demands they are facing now and into the future. This was outlined in the RCM’s Five-Year Plan for Midwifery published last year. It was also an opportunity for midwives to take directly to politicians the concerns they expressed in an RCM survey of its Scotland members last year. A staggering half of respondents to the survey said they rarely have enough staff to provide safe care for women.

Jaki Lambert added, “Many MSPs from across the political spectrum came to this event and appeared to be listening intently to what they were being told. They seemed genuine in their responses to the concerns of the midwives they spoke to. I hope they now take this knowledge, and their desire to improve maternity care back with them to their constituencies and the debating chamber.

“We need all parties to recognise the value of good midwifery care and the positive impact it has on the health of women, and the health of the whole population. If we can get maternity care right, we give everybody the best possible start for a healthier life from pregnancy and into adulthood. Good maternity care can improve the health of the nation, we now need to see this recognised and maternity services getting the staffing and investment that is desperately needed.”


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].

Notes to Editor 

To read the RCM’s Five-Year Plan for Midwifery in Scotland visit scotland-5-year_digital.pdf (rcm.org.uk).

The RCM’s 2022 survey of its members in Scotland can be read at scotland-survey_report_2022_digitalfinal.pdf (rcm.org.uk), and see also Mounting Scottish maternity service staffing shortages spark safety fears says RCM.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team.  We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team.